Fernando Vargas Goes Back To Work This Saturday
By Chris Robinson (March 25, 2005) 
Photos © HoganPhotos.com
Love him or hate him, there’s no denying what ‘Ferocious’ Fernando Vargas has given to the sport of boxing. Truly one of the pure blood n’ guts fighters in the game, the former Jr. Middleweight champion has seen the highest of highs while also tasting the lowest of lows. ‘El Feroz’ is making his return to the ring this Saturday, March 26th on HBO against Raymond Joval, with eventual hopes of regaining his glory at 154 lbs. on the agenda. Fans and detractors alike should both be tuning in, and no matter what it's just good seeing Vargas back in action again.

We’ve seen Vargas do a little bit of everything in the ring; following the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta he began his professional career and got off to a fast start. Then a mere 19 years old, Vargas would carve through the competition impressively, with each win coming by way of the short route. Vargas would make the transition from USA’s ‘Tuesday Night Fights’ over to the HBO airwaves and a title shot against rugged veteran ‘Yory Boy’ Campas would follow on December 12th, 1998, just days after Vargas’ 21st birthday.

Vargas fought with savvy far beyond his years as he busted Campas up, picked his shots, and taunted his man before forcing him to quit after the 7th round. With the win, Vargas took over the reigns of the IBF belt while also becoming the youngest champion the division had yet to see. Tears rolled down the Oxnard, California native’s face as he celebrated one of the finest moments of his career. From there Vargas’ story would be filled with both high notes and low points. He was dominating against Raul Marquez in Nevada, stopping the former champion in 11 one-sided rounds. Against Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright he was vulnerable and had to dig deep in the late rounds to pull out the win. Questions regarding Vargas’ place in the sport would circulate, but ‘Feroz’ would silence the critics just months later in April of 2000 against former WBA Champion Ike ‘Bazooka’ Quartey. On this night Vargas looked as good as ever, beating Quartey to the punch and out muscling him on the inside. Vargas gave Quartey angles and dished out a punishing body attack to slow the Ghanaian down. A unanimous decision was announced as Vargas screamed in triumph while being lifted in the air. Vargas let it be known that he desired a showdown with WBA champion Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad and his wish would be granted at the end of the year.

They always say to be careful what you wish for and this would prove true as young Vargas found himself in deep waters early against the deadly punch of Trinidad. A left hook from the Puerto Rican would floor Vargas moments into the first round, and Vargas would hit the deck again moments later as he fought to survive the opening stanza. Vargas fought back bravely, even managing to floor Trinidad, but this would not be his night as he was knocked out in punishing fashion in the 12th.

The loss seemed to be heartbreaking but Vargas picked up the pieces and moved forward. A shaky win over Wilfredo Rivera would lead to a meeting with ‘Shibita’ Flores, a bout in which Vargas slowly but surely picked his man apart, scoring a TKO in the 7th and the WBA belt along with it. A year later Vargas would tangle with a man he openly despised, Oscar de la Hoya. For years Vargas expressed his wishes to get De la Hoya in the ring and in September 2002 he would again have his date with Oscar. The fight was an excellent one, as Vargas started strong, bullying De la Hoya and appearing to build up a lead. ‘The Golden Boy’ would turn things around by way of classic boxing and eventually start to take over late in the fight. Vargas was stunned late in the 10th round and finished off a round later, with his dreams again being halted.

Since the loss to De la Hoya we have seen Vargas score two lopsided wins over Tony Marshall and Fitz Vanderpool, with neither contest seeming to show the best Vargas has to offer. Due to various injuries, Vargas has spent well over a year away from the sport he loves. He returns with a new focus and regardless of who he fights he will make things more than interesting. How far Vargas goes from here is yet to be seen, but it's good to see him back where he belongs, inside the ring fighting for all boxing fans to see.

*This Article Brought to you in Association with BraggingRightsCorner
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